The Ketogenic Diet REVIEW ( information you needed )
Ketosis is an often misunderstood subject. Its presence is equated with starvation or a warning sign of something going wrong in your metabolism. But nothing could be farther from the truth, except if you are an ill-treated type 1 diabetic person.
Ketones – contrary to popular belief and myth – are a much needed and essential healing energy source in our cells that come from the normal metabolism of fat.
The entire body uses ketones in a more safe and effective way than the energy source coming from carbohydrates – sugar AKA glucose. Our bodies will produce ketones if we eat a diet devoid of carbs or a low-carb diet (less than 60 grams of carbs per day). By eating a very low-carb diet or no carbs at all (like a caveman), we become keto-adapted.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is quite simply any diet that forces the body into a process called ketosis, whereby fats are burned instead of carbohydrates for use as energy. A proper ketogenic diet calls for the dieter to consume high amounts of fat, adequate amounts of protein, and very low amounts of carbohydrates. Our bodies are used to turning carbohydrates into glucose to send all over the body as energy. When we enter ketosis by sufficiently limiting our carbohydrate intake, our livers start breaking down fat cells into fatty acids and ketones, to be used as energy.
Why does the ketogenic diet work?
The ketogenic diet works much like any other diet: by limiting the amount of calories you consume, thereby creating a caloric deficit where the body burns more energy than it takes in. That is the fundamental science of weight loss, and while the “a calorie is a calorie” argument is subject to much debate, few will argue that all successful diets rely on caloric restriction, one way or another.
Our body organs and tissues work much better when they use ketones as a source of fuel, including the brain, heart and the core of our kidneys. If you ever had a chance to see a heart working in real time, you might have noticed the thick fatty tissue that surrounds it. In fact, heart surgeons get to see this every day. A happy beating heart is one that is surrounded by layers of healthy fat. Both the heart and the brain run at least 25% more efficiently on ketones than on blood sugar.
Since the ketogenic diet relies on reducing calories, why cut out carbohydrates at all? Why not just practice calorie counting and focus on eating a traditional low-fat diet like most diet books and nutritionists recommend? What is the advantage of the ketogenic diet?
Great questions. Many of the advantages of the ketogenic diet are rooted in its ability to control hunger much more effectively than other diets:
- Ketogenic Diets control blood sugar and minimize insulin spikes.
When we eat carbohydrates, our blood-glucose levels rise rapidly. This causes an equally rapid insulin response from the pancreatic gland. The insulin disperses excess blood glucose, which causes you to feel hungry all over again. By eating a low carbohydrate diet, we keep our blood sugar levels low and steady, and as a result, carb-induced hunger spikes are avoided. Reducing insulin levels is paramount to success with any diet, as insulin is the hormone that tells our bodies to store fat. By keeping our insulin levels low, we create an environment within our bodies that limits fat storage and promotes fat lipolysis.
- Ketogenic Diets allow us to eat food that is satiating and filling.
Many find that restricting calories on a ketogenic diet is extremely easy. If you’re doing the ketogenic diet properly, you’ll be consuming the vast majority of your calories each day from fats and protein, both of which are extremely filling and can be quite delicious. Once you remove things like refined sugars and simple carbohydrates from your diet, you’ll find that 2,000 calories (or however many you aim to consume) leaves plenty of room to fill yourself up each day. Many keto dieters even find themselves having a hard time consuming enough food each day!
The fact is you get MORE energy per molecule of fat than sugar. How many chronic and autoimmune diseases have an energy deficit component? How about chronic fatigue? Fibromyalgia? Rheumatoid Arthritis? Multiple Sclerosis? Cancer? Back to Allan and Lutz:
Mitochondria are the power plants of the cell. Because they produce most of the energy in the body, the amount of energy available is based on how well the mitochondria are working. Whenever you think of energy, think of all those mitochondria churning out ATP to make the entire body function correctly. The amount of mitochondria in each cell varies, but up to 50 percent of the total cell volume can be mitochondria. When you get tired, don’t just assume you need more carbohydrates; instead, think in terms of how you can maximize your mitochondrial energy production…
If you could shrink to a small enough size to get inside the mitochondria, what would you discover? The first thing you’d learn is that the mitochondria are primarily designed to use fat for energy!
In short, let fat be thy medicine and medicine be thy fat!
You will think that with all of this information we would see ketogenic diets recommended right and left by our health care providers, but alas, that is not the case. Mainstream nutritionists recommend carbohydrates AKA sugar as the main staple of our diets. The problem with this (and there are several of them) is that in the presence of a high carb diet we are unable to produce ketones from the metabolism of fats, thus, depriving ours bodies from much healing ketone production. The fact that we live in a world which uses glucose as a primary fuel means that we eat a very non healing food in more ways than one.
In the mean time new research is starting to elucidate the key role of our mitochondria in the regulation of the cell cycle – the vital process by which a single celled fertilized egg develops into a mature organism, as well as the process by which hair, skin, blood cells, and some internal organs are renewed. In the complicated and highly choreographed events surrounding cell-cycle progression, mitochondria are not simple bystanders merely producing energy but instead are full-fledged participants. Given the significant amount of energy needed to make all the nutrients required for cell division, it makes sense that some coordination existed. This long ignored and overlooked connection between the mitochondria and the cell cycle is something that is worthy of considerable more attention as we understand the role of diet in our bodies. We’ll have to take a closer look to this subject of ketosis, as it really holds the key to unlock our transformational pathways that will lead us to an outstanding healthy living.
Mitochondria are best known as the powerhouses of our cells since they produce the cell’s energy. But they also lead the genetic orchestra which regulates how every cell ages, divides, and dies. They help dictate which genes are switched on or off in every single cell of our organism. They also provide the fuel needed to make new brain connections, repair and regenerate our bodies.
Whether we are housewives, sportsmen or labor people, energy is a topic that concerns us all, every day and in every way. Our well being, behavior and ability to perform the tasks in front of us to do is our individual measure of energy. But how we derive energy from the foods that we eat?
How do I do a Keto Diet?
Successful keto dieting is all about properly balancing your macronutrient ratios. It is generally recommended that ketogenic dieters should consume about 60% of their macronutrients from fat, 35% from protein, and 5% from carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate intake should generally be limited to less than 50 grams per day. When starting out, it is generally recommended that you limit your carbohydrates to 20 grams per day, as being strict initially will make sure you enter ketosis, and help you learn the ins and outs of successful low carbohydrate dieting. In your first few weeks, it is helpful to obsessively and accurately track every morsel of food or liquid that enters your body. (Many of us that do keto use our smartphones to keep track of our food consumption – MyFitnessPal and LoseIt! are both very popular apps.) After a while, you start to develop an understanding of how many grams of carbohydrates are in different kinds of food, and you quickly learn how to adjust your dietary habits to a low carb lifestyle.
Ketosis – closer look
The presence of ketones in the blood and urine, a condition known as ketosis, has always been regarded as a negative situation, related to starvation. While it is true that ketones are produced during fasting, ketones are also produced in times of plenty, but not plenty of carbohydrates since a carb metabolism suppresses ketosis. In the absence of most carbs in the diet, ketones will form from fat to supply for energy. This is true even if lots of fats and enough protein are eaten, something that is hardly a starvation condition.
As we already saw, a ketogenic diet has been proved useful in a number of diseases, especially neurological ones. Strictly speaking, a ketogenic diet is a high fat diet in which carbohydrates are either completely eliminated or nearly eliminated so that the body has the very bare minimum sources of glucose. That makes fats (fatty acids) a mandatory energetic fuel source for both the brain and other organs and tissues. If you are carb intake is high, you’ll end up storing both the fat and the carbs in your fat tissue thanks to the hormone insulin. A ketogenic diet is not a high protein diet, which as it happens, can also stimulate insulin. It is basically a diet where you rely primarily on animal foods and especially their fats.
In children who were treated with the ketogenic diet to treat their epilepsy, it was seen that they become seizure-free even long after the diet ended, meaning that not only did the diet proved to be protective, but also it modified the activity of the disease , something that no drug has been able to do. In Alzheimer’s disease, as levels of ketone bodies rise, memory improves. People’s starved brains finally receive the much needed fats they need! In fact, every single neurological disease is improved on the ketogenic diet.
The benefits of a ketogenic diet can be seen as fast as one week, developing gradually over a period of 3 weeks. There are several changes in gene expression involving metabolism, growth, development, and homeostasis among others.
The hippocampus is a region in your brain that is very vulnerable to stress which makes it lose its brain cells. The hippocampus has to do with memory, learning, and emotion. As it happens, a ketogenic diet promotes the codification of genes which creates mitochondria in the hippocampus, making more energy available. A larger mitochondrial load and more energy means more reserve to withstand much more stress.
In some animal models, there is a 50% increase in the total number of mitochondria in the hippocampus, resulting in more brain ATP. Other animal studies show how communication between brain cells in the hippocampus would remain smooth for 60% longer when exposed to a stressful stimulus compared to their counterparts who didn’t had a ketogenic diet. This is very important since too much stress can damage the hippocampus and its capacity to retrieve information, making you “absent-minded” or “brain-scattered”, as well as affecting the ability of your prefrontal cortex to think and manage behavior.
A ketogenic diet also increases levels of the calming neurotransmitter – GABA which then serves to calm down the overexcitation which is at the base of major neurodegenerative diseases, but also anxiety and other mood problems. A ketogenic diet also increases antioxidant pathways that level the excess production of free radicals from a toxic environment. It also enhances anti-inflammatory pathways.
Ketone-enhanced autophagy is very important because autophagy can target viruses and bacteria that grow inside cells which are very problematical. Intracellular viruses and bacteria can lead to severe mitochondrial dysfunction and ketosis remains by far our best chance against them.
Ketone bodies production through intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet is the most promising treatment for mitochondrial dysfunction.The longevity benefits seen caloric restriction research is due to the fact that our bodies shift to a fat burning metabolism within our mitochondria. With a ketogenic diet, we go into a fat burning metabolism without restricting our caloric intake.
Ketosis deals effectively with all the problems of a diet rich in carbs – the one recommended by mainstream science: anxiety, food cravings, irritability, tremors, and mood problems among others. It is a crime to discourage the consumption of a high fat diet considering that a ketogenic diet shrinks tumors on human and animal models, and enhances our brain’s resiliency against stress and toxicity.
In addition to increasing the production of our body’s natural valium – GABA – the increased production of acetyl-CoA generated from the ketone bodies also drives the Krebs cycle to increase mitochondrial NADH (reduced nicotinamide adenine nucleotide) which our body uses in over 450 vital biochemical reactions – including the cell signaling and assisting of the ongoing DNA repair. Because the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate is more energy rich than pyruvate, it produces more ATP. Ketosis also enhances the production of important anti-oxidants that deal with toxic elements from our environments, including glutathione.
The way to have healing ketone bodies circulating in our blood stream is to do a high fat, restricted carb and moderated protein diet. Coupled with intermittent fasting which will enhance the production of ketone bodies, and resistance training which will create mitochondria with healthier mtDNA, we can beat the odds against us.
What is considered nowadays a “normal diet” is actually an aberration based on the corruption of science which benefits Big Agra and Big Pharma. If we would go back in time to the days before the modern diet became normalized by corporative and agricultural interests, we will find that ketosis was the normal metabolic state. Today’s human metabolic state is aberrant. It is time to change that.
 A research member of forum has diabetes type 1 and is doing the ketogenic diet. In normal circumstances, diabetics (including type I) report amazing results on a low-carbohydrate diet. See Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution by Richard K. Bernstein, MD (Little, Brown and Company: 2007).
 It varies among each person, but the general range is between 0 and 70 grams of carbs plus moderate intake of protein, between 0.8 and 1.5 grams of protein per kg of ideal body weight. Pregnant women and children should not have their protein restricted.
 Ketogenic diets in seizure control and neurologic disorders by Eric Kossoff, MD, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Jeff S. Volek, PhD, Rd and Stephen D. Phinney, MD, PhD. Beyond Obesity, LLC , 2011.
 A Paoli, A Rubini, J S Volek and K A Grimaldi. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013;67:789-96.
 Rainer J Klement, Ulrike Kämmerer. Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer? Nutr Metab (Lond). Oct 26, 2011; 8: 75.
 If the genetic code is the hardware for life, the epigenetic code is software that determines how the hardware behaves.
 David N. Ruskin and Susan A. Masino, The Nervous System and Metabolic Dysregulation: Emerging Evidence Converges on Ketogenic Diet Therapy. Front Neurosci. 2012; 6: 33.
 Finkel T, Hwang PM. The Krebs cycle meets the cell cycle: mitochondria and the G1-S transition. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jul 21;106(29):11825-6.
 Matthews C.M. Nurturing your divine feminine. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2011 July; 24(3): 248.
 Hipkiss AR. Energy metabolism, altered proteins, sirtuins and ageing: converging mechanisms? Biogerontology. 2008 Feb;9(1):49-55.
 Saffran HA, Pare JM, Corcoran JA, et al. Herpes simplex virus eliminates host mitochondrial DNA. EMBO Rep. 2007 Feb;8(2):188-93.
 Porcellini E, Carbone I, et al. Alzheimer’s disease gene signature says: beware of brain viral infections. Immun Ageing. 2010 Dec;14(7):16.
 Gasior M, Rogawski MA, Hartman AL. Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behav Pharmacol. 2006 Sep;17(5-6):431-9.
Very nicely written, Marko.
Alert: Yucky info in this post
I tried the paleo/low carb diet last year where I ate steamed fatty meats and some steamed veggies. In 7 days my nose became so clogged up I could only breathe through my mouth. I was expelling mucus from my mouth and nose it was horrible. I had to take 4 days off from work to recover. By the end of it clearing up blood was intermittently coming out from my nose. I touched my ears and swore never again.
However, that's not to say the diet doesn't work for others. Just my experience. I might try a high fat low carb diet again someday but it'll definitely be raw i.e. raw meat, veggies etc. I seem to do better with raw foods. No cooked low carb diet for me again.
You have a sound in your thoughts and really a good information here. Thank you.
great informations thanks but why no fiber-food recomendation? the fiber food is the most important food for the great healthy body! :)
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